Islamic State holds around 11,100 authentic Syrian passports that can be completed with any person’s details, German authorities warned Sunday.
Germany’s federal police (BKA) are aware of at least 18,002 blank passports stolen from Syrian government offices, tabloid Bild am Sonntag reports. A majority of them have ended up in the hands of ISIS and other groups, sparking fears they can be used to send terrorists posing as refugees to Europe.
“Developments in connection with the refugee situation have shown that terrorist organizations are using the opportunity to infiltrate potential attackers or supporters into Europe and Germany undetected,” a BKA spokeswoman told Bild am Sonntag.
Members of the terror cell behind the attack in Paris in November 2015 used fake Syrian passports to travel to Europe. At least 8,625 fake passports were discovered by German immigration authorities last year, but a majority of people had no intention of carrying out an attack.
“Fake or altered passports are mostly used for illegal entry without further motives like carrying out a terrorist attack,” the spokeswoman said.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) warned in July that hundreds of jihadis arrived among the more than one million migrants who entered the country over the past two years. A total 24,400 Islamists are currently active in Germany, according to the agency.
“We have to assume that we can expect further attacks by individuals or terror commandos in Germany too,” BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen said at a press conference in July. “Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the BfV and we see it as one of the biggest threats facing the internal security of Germany.”
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